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Release: Immediate

Ethics of physician-assisted suicide to be discussed at UI public seminar

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Physician-assisted suicide is a complex and controversial issue about which reasonable people disagree. Robert F. Weir, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Iowa, will explore the topic and the controversy surrounding it in a lecture that is part of the spring series of Ethics Seminars, sponsored by the UI College of Business Administration, the Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry, and UI International Programs.

The seminar, which is free and open to the public, will be from 12:15-1:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, in Room W401 in the Pappajohn Business Administration Building.

Weir, who is also the director of the UI Program in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities, will discuss the historical background of the issue and will present information regarding actual cases of physician-assisted suicide, surveys of patients' views, and the medical conditions and non-medical factors that most frequently seem to be involved in requests for assistance in committing suicide. Weir will also discuss the ethical arguments for and against physician-assisted suicide and describe the current legal situation surrounding the issue.

Weir's presentation is one of three Ethics Seminars that will be presented this spring. All will focus on human rights topics in concert with Global Focus: Human Rights '98, the year-long, university-wide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Ethics Seminars are intended to create a place for and foster interdisciplinary conversations about ethics.

For further information about the seminar, contact the Project for Rhetoric of Inquiry at(319) 335-2753.